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Coleg Llandrillo’s outstanding achievers celebrated in annual awards

Overall Achiever of the Year Rhys Morris was among more than 20 winners recognised at the Venue Cymru ceremony

A student who earned national recognition from King Charles, a young carer and refugees from Nigeria and Ukraine were among the winners at Coleg Llandrillo’s Achievers’ Awards.

The awards ceremony, held every year at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, celebrates the outstanding achievements of learners from across the college’s further education courses.

This year, trophies were presented to more than 20 students. Lecturers in each subject nominate students for an award within their programme area, with the winner being chosen by the respective programme area manager.

The principal of the college then selects the overall winner, based on their achievements and academic success.

This year’s Overall Achiever of the Year award went to Rhys Morris, who is studying Level 3 Uniformed Protective Services.

Earlier this year, Rhys won The Prince’s Trust Ascential Education Award, which recognises young people who have overcome barriers and developed new skills to improve their prospects through re-engagement in education.

The 16-year-old from Abergele was presented with The Prince’s Trust award at a ceremony in London, where he spoke on stage to hosts Ant and Dec, and also met King Charles in a special reception at Buckingham Palace.

After winning Coleg Llandrillo’s Overall Achiever of the Year award for 2024, Rhys said: “Being recognised with any accolade is uplifting, but being recognised by your college holds an extra meaning.

“I have found my course to be very informative, expanding my insights into the various services within the public sector. This has ultimately helped me make a far more informed decision on my future and prepared me for progression to potentially joining North Wales Police.

“I have also received valuable support from my tutors and the college as a whole, especially my main program tutor who has helped me tremendously in pushing me to seek new opportunities such as running for election for the Welsh Youth Parliament.”

Winning the award for the A-level programme area was Melody Nnadozie, who came to the UK as an asylum seeker after escaping emotional circumstances in Nigeria, and has been granted Official Refugee Status.

As a speaker of other languages, Melody has seen her English skills improve from D/E grades to A/B grades in her A-level English Literature.

She has remained focused on her studies despite challenging personal circumstances, and plans to study Law with Criminology at the University of Essex next year, having received offers from all five universities she applied to.

Melody said: “I find it a privilege to be among the students of Coleg Llandrillo Rhyl. I'm happy to be here - it’s peaceful, attentive and no drama. The courses are pretty exciting and a worthwhile challenge.

“Winning the award is a reward for all the hard work and all the emotional energy you’ve got to overcome and conquer. Most people here in college have parents to encourage them with stuff like this but I only have me. I’m extremely proud of how I’ve made it so far.”

Yuliia Batrak won the Hospitality and Catering award for the second year in a row.

Yuliia, from Kyiv in Ukraine, won gold in restaurant service at the WorldSkills UK finals in November. She is now part of the UK squad, and will hope to be selected to compete in the Shanghai 2026 WorldSkills competition against the best in the world. She also won gold in the Dougie Simpson Commis Pastry Chef of the Year competition at the Association Culinaire Francaise (ACF) awards.

Yuliia, who studies Level 2 Professional Cookery, said: “It's been an amazing two years studying at Coleg Llandrillo. The opportunities and experience I've been given is unbelievable. I'm looking forward to continuing this success next year on the Level 3 course.

“I'm really grateful to all my family and all members of staff at Coleg Llandrillo for their support - but especially to the tutors who have been training me, Mike Garner and Glenydd Hughes. They have been a huge support to me for the past two years.”

The winners also included Alex Isaak (Childcare), who combines her studies with being a young carer for her mother and brother; Arak Taktak (Health and Social Care), who promotes positive attitudes towards Muslim women and led a group tutorial on World Hijab Day; and Hannah Jones, who organised a charity concert in aid of PoTS UK, a charity which helps people with Postural tachycardia syndrome.

The award winners from each programme area were:

Access to HE: Sophie Carr

A-levels: Melody Nnadozie

Art and Design: Olivia Marshall-Wilson

Business: Jane Evans

Childcare: Alex Isaac

Computing: Harvey Kendrick-Rees

Construction: Ruby Hillary

Engineering: Jessica Flynn

Hair and Beauty: Taylor Barrowclough

Health and Social Care: Arak Taktak

Hospitality and Catering: Yuliia Batrak

Independent Living Skills: Rhiannon Westwood

Media: Nate Orr

Motor Vehicle: Callum Pike

Music and Performing Arts: Hannah Jones

Public Services: Rhys Morris

Sport: Sammi May-Evans

Travel and Tourism: Katie Crowther

Adult Community Learner of the Year: Tracy Hames

Welsh Student of the Year: Shannon Corran

Also recognised on the night were sport students Phoebe Griffiths and Harvey Bennett, who represented Wales at football during the year, and Dylan Alford, who won his first Wales rugby caps and played in the under-18 Six Nations festival.

Awards were also presented to Coleg Llandrillo’s Football Academy team, who were crowned champions in their division following a dominant campaign, and will compete next season at the highest level of college football.

Coleg Llandrillo Principal Lawrence Wood said: “Congratulations to all of our award winners this year. These students have been chosen because of their exceptional hard work, dedication to their studies and excellent attainment over the past 12 months.

“Our award winners embody our mission of ‘Improving People’s Futures’ and are a credit to their lecturers, their personal tutors and their families. This is what makes these awards very special and a privilege to present. Well done everyone."

Grŵp Llandrillo Menai offers the widest choice of full-time, part-time, apprenticeship and degree courses in North Wales. Click here to learn more about our range of courses and how to apply.